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Monday, February 13, 2012


Sophist is one of the posters on here whom I respect the most. Which is why it's disconcerting to see him (or her) fall back to the "he doesn't get paid to steal bases" trope.

First, there's far more to baserunning than stealing bases. Going from first to third, scoring from 2nd, taking the extra base, etc. Second, everything on the field counts. Baseball players get paid to play baseball. Everything they do well helps the team win, and everything they do poorly doesn't. The game doesn't stop when Ryan Howard reaches first base so he can say "whoa, hold on, I need a pinch-runner. I get paid to hit, not to run." Just like it doesn't stop when a terrible defender takes the field so they can say "hey, guys, I get paid for offense, not defense, so the ball can't be hit to me."

No one is saying Howard isn't a positive player--the things he does well (namely, hit for power) generally outweighs everything else. But think of it this way--if you make $100 dollars in revenues, but spend $99 of it on expenses, you can't say you ended up with $100. You ended up with $1. If Howard's power is worth 50 runs, and everything else he does loses 40 runs, you can't claim he's so amazing because of those 50 runs.

That's the whole point. His negative baserunning doesn't "not count" because he hits for power. The point is you evaluate baseball players on everything they do--it's a tautology, of course but a useful one here. A baseball player is not a "power hitter" or a "base stealer"--they're a baseball player.

And, as BAP notes, OF COURSE Brett Gardner's lack of power is a negative attribute as a baseball player. It's why he is making $2.8 million in his first year of arbitration this year, as opposed to Ryan Howard, who made $10 million in his first year of arbitration.

BAP - If the Yankees extended Gardner to a market-rate contract (when unnecessary), I would think it reasonable to complain about his shortcomings from the expectations he set given his history, position, and pay. If they paid him like the best player at his position, I could see criticisms for his failure to play, within reason, as well as other CF making similar money.

But Howard is not being paid to be Gardner or Utley, and you'll notice that slugging 1B making similar money actually find themselves at the bottom of the list along with Howard as far as base running is concerned. If it's not an issue that Fielder or AGon are terrible base runners, why should it matter that Howard is too? Howard is getting paid like AGon and Fielder and he runs just like they do.

If Gardner gets paid like Vic, then criticize him for his lower ISO than Vic -- sure. But that's not the same as complaining that Howard runs the bases as poorly as every other $20M+ DH/1B type.

Jack - If I said "steal" a base in was just a casual remark. Of course base running means more than that.

And of course everything a player does matters. But Howard is getting paid the market rate for a slugging 1B of middling defensive value and poor base running ability. That this is true is evidenced by the inclusion at the bottom of the list of guys like Fielder and AGon. I'm not denying your principle really, it just seems like nit-picking when his peers in terms of position and salary sit at the bottom of the list with him.

If we're just making an argument about baseball value, then it's clear that Howard a Fielder have deficiencies. But if this is about value relative to a contract, then I don't think this deficiency is relevant unless Howard is much, much worse than his peers. His current problem relative to Fielder and AGon are their towering power numbers not to mention their actual ability to his for average and draw a ton of walks.

Sophist: I would agree that critizing a slugging 1st baseman for lack of speed is pretty nit-picky. But my original post wasn't about his lack of speed per se. I was just making a general observation that, for a player who's set to be paid like one of baseball's true superstars, there's a shockingly long list of areas in which he's absolutely terrible.

BAP - I guess it just depends on whether you want to see his contract as evidence that he's a true superstar or you just want to see it primarily as in line with other slugging 1B who just so happen to be the games highest paid players.

To take an extreme example, it would be like complaining that your highest paid pitcher can't bunt. It would marginally increase his value if he could (he's a "baseball player" after all), but it's not why you're paying him. And it would certainly seem nit-picky in light of the former CY winners plummeting K-rate and serious shoulder injury.

This is one of my favorite new MG phrases in a post:

"No one seems to be acknowledging the fact that I doubt Blanton even passes a physical at this point from another team."

I laughed for a good couple minutes reading that.

Gelb finally with an article on the Phils TV Contract Situation which is up after 2015:

"The Phillies, according to Forbes magazine, netted some $24 million from their TV rights contracts with Comcast and PHL17 during the 2010 season. It's important to note the Phillies also profit from TV advertising sales, which they still handle in-house, to avoid sponsor conflicts in ballpark signage. The amount the Phillies earn from those sales is unknown, but in any future mega-deal, the Phillies could choose to cede the revenue from TV ad sales to Comcast or another broadcaster, if the price is right.

Still, the total payout of TV contract and ad revenue rights will dwarf whatever the Phillies earn under the current deal.

San Diego is the 26th largest market in baseball. Their 2011 local TV ratings were 3.15, or about a third of the Phillies' 9.12 number. And the Padres are reportedly on the verge of signing a 20-year deal with Fox Sports possibly worth as much as $1.5 billion. (This number, reported by USA Today, has been disputed. But it could include the value of an equity stake in the network.)

In Houston, the Astros will earn an average of $80 million a year beginning in 2013 through a joint-venture operation with Comcast, according to the New York Times. The Astros had baseball's worst local ratings in 2011."

Read more:
Watch sports videos you won't find anywhere else

TTI- nobody is mentioning too that I bet Lidge signs back with the Phils on a 1 mil deal + incentives too.

TTI - Even if the Phils were willing to stay eat slightly more than half of Blanton's $10.5M salary this year to make him more tradeable, do you think he would pass another team's physical? I don't.

Iceman - Phils passed on Lidge because of health concerns and signed Qualls instead. If Lidge is healthy (that's a big if), he's going to outpitch Qualls. With Contreras' questionable status, I understand why Amaro went with Qualls over bringing back Lidge. Lidge won't be able to give the Phils the 65-70 IP that Qualls will. If Lidge gives the Nats 45-50 IP though, I bet he provides slightly better value.

"To take an extreme example, it would be like complaining that your highest paid pitcher can't bunt. It would marginally increase his value if he could (he's a "baseball player" after all), but it's not why you're paying him."

Sophist: a pitcher not being able to bunt does not have a ~10 run impact per season. To modify your example, Howard's baserunning deficit compared to an average player is on the order of Roy Halladay's offense deficit compared to Cliff Lee. Criticizing Halladay's hitting is rather dumb, but Lee's hitting provides real value that should be taken into account when comparing the two players. Halladay has to be a significantly better pitcher than Lee (~1 WAR) to make up for it (and he is).

Are we really having a major discussion about Howard clogging up the basepaths? {sigh}

P&C never arrives soon enough.

I've been out of the loop for a while. And at the risk of someone repeated what has been explained 1,000 times:

Didn't Oswalt have a deal in place with the Cardinals a few weeks ago? What happened? I must have missed every/any news outlet (BL included) who talked about it.

Sophist: If your point is that Howard has bigger flaws than the baserunning, well, I don't disagree. His decline in power and walks you rightly point to.

I would argue that Howard is NOT being paid the going rate for a slugging 1B with middling defense, poor baserunning, mediocre OBP and poor batting average. That just as easily describes Carlos Pena, who is still looking for work, or Mike Morse, who recently signed a 2-year contract extension for $10 million.

Howard is being paid like Pujols, Texeira, Fielder, Cabrera, and A-Gon, all of whom hit for higher average, get on base more, and hit for more power, not to mention some of them field and run better.

In 2010, it was all about how Adam Dunn could give you Howard's production. Now he sucks, and after 2011 its about Carlos Pena even though when he was batting under the mendoza line in 2010, you never heard much campaigning for him.

I wonder who it will be after 2012, when someone plays like crap before but then has a good year and will be lauded as such a better deal than Howard.

"Just thought it is incredibly risky to invest in a closer especially one who depends on throwing his 4-seamer so much. That's all. If its cold and he doesn't have a great feel for his splitter, its 4-seamer after 4-seamer."

MG, that is either a vacuously ignorant comment, or you desperately attempting to defend your position without any thought whatsover.

Papelbon's career thus far has been in Boston, which, the last I checked, is actually COLDER on average than Philadelphia.

It's a shame he wasn't successful there.

I'm surprised at the reaction to the Cespedes deal on here. A lot of people claimed Cespedes didn't get what he wanted because he only got 4 years, instead of more.

That misses the whole point--Cespedes WANTED a shorter deal, in order to hit FA while still in his prime. The Marlins offered him 6 years, and he turned it down in order to take 4 from the A's. From what I can tell, Cespedes either wanted a huge deal (8+ years) basically locking him up for life, or he wanted the shortest deal possible so he could hit FA sooner.

"We're basically criticizing these guys for not being Willie Mays."

Sophist, exactly.

And that, is what Jack, fangraphs, etc. have been reduced to:

Their dislike for Howard is so all-consuming that they are now nitpickingly criticizing him for not being as well rounded as the guy most/many people consider to be the best all-around player to ever put on a uniform.


awh - No is saying he can't be successful if it is cold. WTF. He actually has a rep as a strong starter in April.

I just added that he throws 4-seamer after 4-seamer if it is cold and he doesn't have a good feel for his splitter.

When you can throw a fastball 95 MPH pretty much anywhere in the zone with great command and good control it doesn't really matter that much. Imagine as a RH-hitter you are trying to drive that inside 95-MPH fastball from Papelbon if it is 40 or 45 degrees out early/late in the year. Talk about hands stinging.

lorecore, what about Adam Dunn's 2010 or Carlos Pena's 2011 are out of line with their career performances? Or am I missing your point?

Yeah, I mean, I have to say I'm not sure I buy MG's point here on Papelbon. In general, I think it's a bad idea to sign a reliever to a big-money, 4-year contract with an option for a 5th year. I just think that's poor business generally--those contracts rarely ever work out well.

But there's no denying Papelbon is a great relief pitcher and he's shown no signs of getting worse, or has any more risk because of the type of pitches he throws. In fact, I would generally prefer to bet on the power pitchers for the long-term. If their stuff declines, they can compensate. My impression is that studies have shown power pitchers actually age the best.

awh: I would never in a million years compare Ryan Howard to Willie Mays. Please find a post where I have ever mentioned those two together, other than this one. I'll give you time to go through the archives. I'm looking forward to what you find. Thanks in advance.

Phils have the 2nd highest projected payroll going into the season at $170M.

Fish are #11 at $100M
Mets are #15 at $93M
Braves are #16 at $90M
Nats are #17 at $89M

No more bottom feeders this year.

Right, but he also is getting $3 million per year more with the A's.

Average spending for team is the highest in the NL East this year. Shaping up to the most competitive division in baseball.

edmundo: a lot of the players who people point to as better choices than Howard at much lower costs all have some disgusting seasons that not even Jack could defend while Howard as at his worst still been in the mid 120's OPS+.

Unfortunately Howard doesn't show much signs that he's going to get out of those 120's so I understand the concern, but I don't agree with people who throw out names of guys with glaring down periods as a better long term option.

This is one of my favorite new MG phrases in a post:

"No one seems to be acknowledging the fact that I doubt Blanton even passes a physical at this point from another team."

I laughed for a good couple minutes reading that.

Posted by: The Truth Injection"

TTI, we need to compliment MG for clever use of language. The operative words in the sentence are "I doubt". By using them, he can defend the sentence by maintaining that it is just his opinion.

Let's see what the sentence looks like if we emove those words:

"No one seems to be acknowledging the fact that Blanton[won't] even pass[es] a physical at this point from another team."

Lacking any knowledge whatsoever of Blanton's health status, MG protects himself by inserting "I doubt" into the sentence, so that the way the sentence reads is that no one is acknowledging the fact that 'he doubts' Blanton passes the physical.

Now, IMHO, what MG really meant is the modified sentence above, but he's too smart to stick his neck out like that so he hedged his bet.

This way, if Blanton breaks down he gets to say "I told you so", and if Blanton doesn't, was just his opinion.

Clever use of language, but the overall theme is complete bullsh8t, because he has no idea whether Blanton could pass a physical or not.

MG, I'm with Sophist. If you want to criticise something about Papelbon, ripthe contract that the Phils gave him as being excessive. That's a legit complaint.

But to try do use a potential future drop in velocity as justification for it is just plain stupid, because it's just gross speculation.

The guy has, after all, been the second best RP is baseball since he got called up. Period.

Next thing we'll see from you is criticism of Papelbon because you're not sure he can handle the humidity is South Philly in the summer.

And some people might be against a longterm solution in general, for the thought that 1B are a dime a dozen and not worth multi million dollar commitments.

I use the same argument - the chance that you end up with a pitiful year that the lieks of Pena, Dunn, or guys like Kotchman, LaRoche put up from time to time make that a very dangerous road to go down. Luckily for the Phillies they have the $$ to get a better player over the longhual and not worry about that. That worrying can be left to internet bloggers concerned with the owners' amount of pocket change.

Iorecore: I don't necessarily disagree with your point re: Howard's consistency.

Of course, your point loses a lot of its force considering he's out for some of this season with a torn achilles and no one has any idea how it will affect his play when he does come back.

Jack: very true, if he misses a lot of time this year, or comes back and is not able to perform as well as he has, then anyone who said giving the big man a long term deal at top dollar is too much risk will be proven the wiser.

Luckily our pitching staff is of historic level so Howard's return shouldn't be too vital through the regular season.

Luckily our pitching staff is of historic level so Howard's return shouldn't be too vital through the regular season.

By that same logic, having Kotchman (did anyone ever really want him?), Dunn or Pena shouldn't matter much, should it? :)

Adding DeWitt to the roster as a 19th inning relief option could only bolster up this staff. According to Wiki he was an effective pitcher, winning a Missouri high school record 27 consecutive games and losing only 1 for the Sikeston Bulldogs.

As much as the playoffs are considered a crap shoot, the teams' goal is to win it all, not just the regular season.

And the historic staff is likely only going to be around in 2011 and 2012, as Hamels is a FA next year.

awh - You act as if there is no publicly available information.

You have a good idea of what was bothering was Blanton last year, that he was limited in his outings, and was going to be shutdown this winter if he experienced any real pain in his long-tossing exercises.

He also almost never threw a 4-seam fastball and used his curveball selectively instead becoming predominately a sinker/cutter/changeup pitcher last year.

If he wasn't in his FA year this season, I bet he would have had surgery this offseason. Blanton made some comments at the end of the year that kind of indicated that he would have gone the surgery route too. Instead, he chose physical rehab to build up his arm and roll the dice that he can get throw the year.

In order to get a more accurate prediction, you would need to build medical cases who have had similar injuries to Blanton. Obviously don't have that available.

What I do really wonder about is how forthcoming Blanton is going to be this year with the coaches/training staff. He has a pretty powerful incentive to try to pitch through some pain in order to maximize this FA value.

He is one of the guys I am most interested to see in spring training. Especially if he is going to be the sinker/cutter/changeup guy he was last year and avoid using his curveball that much.

awh - Do you read what I post or just interject your own ridiculous hyperbole? Any long-term deal to a closer at big dollars is risky. Why I really disliked the Papelbon deal.

It is just add to the risk level that he so heavily depends on his fastball to be an elite closer. He doesn't have an elite offspeed pitch.

As soon as I saw that the topic of this thread was "Blake Dewitt," I pretty much knew that we were going to be discussing the Ryan Howard contract by no later than the 75th thread post.

My hesitancy with Papelbon isn't based on what kind of pitcher he is necessarily. He is obviously a world class reliever with a pretty long track record of success.

My problem is, along with the length of the deal, that in the past three seasons he has worn down in September and October. Contrast that with Madson's track record the past few years in Sept/Oct and I'd have rather went with him.

I'm open to the idea that Papelbon's failures late in the year since 2009 are just flukes, but at the money and years we paid, I don't think it's irrational to worry about it.

MG, do a little basic research online about "elbow impingments".

I did.

The reason I did was because I was trying to decide whether or not to take the position that Blanton would either a) get reinjured [or be a high risk therof], or b) be ineffective, or c) eventually require surgery.

Prior to doing the research I was leaning towards taking the position on the board that Blanton 2012 would be a complete flop.

What I found surprised me: There is a good chance that he can fully recover through rehab without surgery.

As we haven't heard any negative health reports about him, and takng into account that he actually came back and pitched effectively in limited action at the end of last season, I am very cautious about declaring Blanton 2012 dead-in-the-water.

He may very well give them 150+ IP in the 4.00 - 4.50 ERA range. That would be league average, and a very good result for the 5th starter.

ESPN is releasing their MLB future power rankings over the next three days. #21-30 were released today (Phils not listed) and #1-20 will come through over the next two days.

Their ranking criteria consists of major league performance, farm system, finances, ownership/management, and roster mobility (meaning older players with big contracts is a bad thing).

Any guesses on where the Phils will be ranked? I'm thinking in the 4-8 range as they'll get docked on their farm system, roster mobility and maybe for Cholly's (lack of) longevity in the manager position.

I'll say #5 overall (behind, in no particular order, NYY, BOS, TEX and LAA). Possibly #4 ahead of the Red Sox.

I should add, it's a ranking based on a five-year projection.

bap - After the 100th post we get to talk about the Monasterios trade, too.

Andy, I think the Abreu trade was good for the Phils.

awh - I don't think he is going to be a complet flop either. If anything, he has upside to surprise if he can stay on the mound. I like the Phils' chances actually of getting value this year out of Blanton than I do Contreras or even Polanco.

He can be an effective back-end starter even if he is primary a sinker/slider/changeup guy with an occasional cutter/curve mixed in.

Blanton's greatest strength as a pitcher at this point is the arsenal of pitches he potentially brings to the table.

I don't particularly like watching Blanton pitch all that much but it will be fascinating to watch this year as he tries to figure out what is working on a nightly basis and stick with it. Imagine most nights he will really have a good feel for one of his offspeed pitches (slider, changeup) and predominately use his sinker.

Wonder if he works with Chooch or Schneider too including in spring training.

He never had plus velocity and but he has pretty good command (ability to throw strikes). If he didn't have the command he does, then yeah his arsenal of below 90 MPH woudl make it tough to get by.

MG, regarding the Phillies TV deal:

Gelb is correct. The Phils next deal will dwarf the current deal.

We'll never know for sure, but I would not be surprised to hear that the next deal grosses the Phillies more than $200MM per year.

If you're Verizon, wouldn't you approach the Phillies about having their own RSN?

IMHO, not having the money will not be a future constraint on the Phillies payroll. The desire to stay under the lux-tax threshhold will be what limits them in the future.

The Ministry of Truth called to remind me that the Phillies have never and will never finish higher that third place with Jimmy Rollins leading off and Ryan Howard in the same state as the rest of the team. Turns out Big Brother is highly influenced by the SABR movement.

Jack for several years argued that Adam Dunn was superior to Ryan Howard, citing numerous statistical measures to prove his point.

awh - We need an Abreu trade of Blanton right now - to send some team Blanton and his salary for 5 dudes who never have a chance of panning out. Really, I'd take Matt Smith, Jesus Sanchez, CJ Henry, Carols Monasterios and um...whatisname for Blanton right about now.

Or Carlos. Whatever.

Andy, can we throw in MiniMart to "sweeten" the pot?

"We need an Abreu trade of Blanton right now - to send some team Blanton and his salary for 5 dudes who never have a chance of panning out."

I remember from high school algebra that some degrees of infinity are more than others. For instance, there are an infinity of numbers between 1 and 2, but an even greater infinity of numbers between 1 and 100. I submit that the same is true with degrees of zero. Hence, I would not be satifisfied with trading Blanton for 5 dudes who have zero percent chance of panning outde. I'd want at least 8 dudes who have zero percent chance of panning out.

I'd give Dewitt a shot. If he can post a 90 wRC with only mildly atrocious fielding I'd take that over Minimart. Wouldn't want give up much for him though.

and Jack - vis a vis your 9:58 post, I would point out that Howard actually did hit for higher AVG and OB last year than Teixeira. I was curious, so I checked; they're actually very similar hitters. 124 wRC for Teixeira and 123.5 for Howard over the past 2 years. Both have trouble with lefties and both are getting killed by the defensive shift.
Teixeira claims he's going to bunt his way out of it though!


WTF, UBIK, even I never messed up the HTML that bad. And I'm legendary.

bap - I'd settle for 5 with zero percent chance of making the majors and 2 with an undefined chance of ever amounting to anything at all, and the wad of gum beneath the bench where some unnamed Rule 5 acquisition is sure to sit next year.

And now, with P&C still a few days off, we can run a pool on which will happen first: JW running a new thread or UBIK cleaning up his mess.

If Howard & Teixeira both continue their mutual downward path for another year or two, I could actually imagine a scenario in which they are one day traded for each other in a sort of "change of scenery" trade for both teams. I am NOT actually predicting such a trade (although I look forward to Iceman and awh saying that I am). But it's the one plausible scenario I have ever been able to come up with in which I could actually see Howard being traded.

Andy: If that wad of gum can play shortstop at least as well as Utley's lawn chair, it will be an upgrade to our bench.

Woah Woah. I'm here to make a pedantic point. There are just as many real numbers between 1 and 2 and 1 and 100. Your point about different cardinalities of infinite sets stands, but I can't let something like this go unnoticed. I don't know what a degree of zero is. But I also think BL underrates Blanton (but only because people think he has zero potential value). Evidence of Blanton's potential would be his mathematically meaningless K/BB in September of 2011.

I really don't see any point in trading Blanton unless you get salary relief.

Andy, we need a haiku in UNIK's font.

May I suggest a Blanton trade as a topic?

"There are just as many real numbers between 1 and 2 and 1 and 100."

Is that a philosophical argument or a mathematical one? I'm not being a smart-ass; that's a sincere question. Because it seems to me that, while both are sets of infinity, the latter is a "greater" set of infinity, which consists of more numbers. Plus that's what my high school math teacher said. So, unless some mathematician has proven that proposition false in the 26 years since I was in high school, I'm going to stick with it.

As for Blanton, yeah, he's a little better than people give him credit for, but his $8M salary is far out of whack with his value to the Phillies, given the presence of Pineiro & KK on the roster. No one is suggesting that he be traded just for the sake of being traded. The point of my post -- and I'm pretty sure Andy's, as well -- was that we (and, undoubtedly, RAJ too) would be willing to take an Abreu-like return if the other team took on all or most of Blanton's salary. I didn't explicitly say that in the post, but I thought it was implicit in any discussion about trading Blanton. An additional $5 to $8M to use on mid-season acquisitions would be of more value to us than the added value (if any) of using Blanton instead of KK.

Does this font make me look fat?

One man's opinion: the bold-faced font is actually easier to read than the standard font.

I have nothing of value to contribute to this conversation (then again, that doesn't seem to have stopped many in the last day or so) - just want to post in bold font. I'm with BAP, makes it easier to read.

I see there was a lot of Utley talk here, so I'll throw out some trivia:

1. His first seven full years (2005-11) were the 3rd best 7-year stretch by a 2B-man in the past 50 years, based on rWAR. Based on fWAR, it was second best, behind only Morgan's 1971-77.

2. In 2010, despite a fall-off in power, he led all MLB 2B-men in fWAR per 700 PAs, by a fair margin. In 2011 he fell to 6th best in fWAR/700 PAs, but it was still a very respectable 6.0.

So bottom line, despite losing much of his power, he's still a very good player.

Hopefully we can get 130-140 games from him in 2012.

(I wrote a post on this -- didn't want to link it, but it's easy enough to google.)

Dude this is like 10x better than normal font and 100x better than the resulting font from normal screw ups.

We can call it the Blanton font.

i can't believe I fixed the Blanton font!

I don't do haiku, but I have this metered-challenged limerick:

There once was a Joe from Kentucky
Whose peripherals were kinda sucky
Rube orchestrated a steal
With salary relief in the deal
And Beerleaguers agreed all was ducky

I have said it before and I will say it again. Our Phillies are going nowhere fast with this lineup. This lineup peaked when they won the World Series from then on they have failed to reach the previous year. SO: 2008 WS, 2009 lost WS, 2010, failed to win NL pennant, 2011 failed division. Given that we have not improved, in fact Howard won’t even be in the lineup for much of the season and given that the other teams in our division (except for the Mets) are better there is a more than reasonable chance that they won’t make it into the playoffs.
To me it’s odd that management, in possession of the above data trends, is not making the proper adjustments.

RK: You said that last year and they won 102 games.

Those aren't data trends, RK. Also, the lineup peaked in 2007, and then again 2009. 2008 was actually a down year, lineup-wise.

I've been utley's biggest fan all the way back to his drafting and have taken pride as him being one of the first players I followed throughout the system, on top of him being a great player.

But I find myself more frustrated with him over last few years because I feel like he has had some 'macho' attitude to fight thru injuries has started to cut into his potential as an all time great player like Schmenkmen was alluding too, into just a player who was the best at his position for a short era and helped bring a title to Philly.

Thats still a great amount of accomplishment, but I can't help but to feel more anger than pride towards him if he in fact is on his official end of career decline already. Guess its the argument of whats worse, falling short of expectation or never being expected to be good anyway.

RK, while you may not agree with the change in direction, you may have noticed a subtle trend towards improved pitching...

And while the postseason crapshoot results have worsened year by year, you may have noticed that the team has actually won more games each of those years.

This thread is dragging it's d*ck in the dirt.

RK, it's been posted here many times, that offense is trending down in all of MLB.

I actually posted on this and remeber the numbers:

Since 2008 RPG are down 10% in the NL.

Since 2008 RPG are down 10.75% for the PHillies.

Do you really think the difference is statistically significant?

That is, do you know how many more runs the Phillies would have had to have scored in 2011 in order to be right in line with th eNL averages?

In short, what I'm stating is that your opinion has no basis in fact.

BB:"Said it last year" True if by that you mean after the 2011 playoffs--not before.
Edmundo: "subtle trend". No I have not noticed. I notice the tendency of management to retain aging stars and bring in more agign stars (Thome!?).
That Post season is a crapshoot is true. But we ar ehandicapped there by not having a somewhat more creative manager than CM.

RK, to piggyback on Edmundo's post, the improved pitching has led to a greater RUN DIFFERENTIAL, which is a real determinating factor of how good a team is overall.

Suppose they had scored more runs every year since 2007 and the pitching had become suckilicious?

If they had scored 763 (one more that STL) in 2011 they would have been the top scoring offense in the league. But if they had had they worst pitching and given up 797 runs (1 more run than HOU), the most likely would have had a losing record and missed the playoffs altogether.

But it's OK, you can continue to believe what you want - even if it's wrong.

RK: you've been pushing for rebuilding this team for a couple of years.

RK, what is Charlie's postseason record with the Phillies?

I'm just curious if you know, and curious if you have any idea where that ranks him among active managers?

Just askin'.

RK: By (correctly) conceding that the post season is a crapshoot, you've conceded away you're entire argument. Because, as has been pointed out, that "odd," uncreative management has produced year after year of improved regular season record. So what exactly are you b*tching about?

Go here to see where Charlie ranks al-time among Phillies managers:

Click on the W-L% and see where he ranks among managers who were with the franchise for at least 1000 games.

It's not even close.

BTW, as a Phillies manager, Charlie Manuel's teams have never finished worse than 2nd.

BAP - The "math" argument is that under the usual assumptions for "counting" and determining the cardinality of sets (one-one correspondence), yes, Georg Cantor proved those sets are equal in size (as well as equal in size to the entire set of real numbers) over 100 years ago. Our intuition about relative size on infinite scales is about as valuable as our intuition/ability to reason probabilistically. Raw/untried.

The "math"/"philosophy" argument is that this is just one interpretation of "equality" and there's another analysis ("nonstandard analysis") which follows your intuition more closely.

Your teacher was either referring to nonstandard analysis or misstated Cantor. There are orders of infinity just not the one you mentioned (set of natural numbers compared with set of reals, for instance).

Sorry for the tangent.

Sophist, no worries. Me likey.

Uh oh, Bob Nightengale of USA Today calls Cole Hamels "...the biggest star in his prime in the upcoming free agent class."

Sophist: Well, I am in no position to rebut a mathematician's finding, and you clearly know WAY more about this than I could ever dream of knowing. I sort of doubt my math teacher misspoke, so I guess I probably misunderstood his point. Too bad. I kind of liked the idea that some infinities are more than others. In fact, I liked it so much that I still remember it 26 years later (unlike the rest of algebra). I even managed to use it to make an overwrought metaphor about Joe Blanton's approximate trade value. I guess it's time to go in search of a new metaphor.

BAP - Like I said, once you buy into some of the assumptions (which are hotly debated in the foundations of mathematics and directly tied to other hotly debated, paradox-ridden, messy issues) there are orders of infinity, some larger than others. You can hold onto that idea.

That's why i said my point - esp on this baseball blog - was pedantic. Your teacher or you just happened to state two sets of equal size. If you had compared the set of naturals to the set of reals I wouldn't have said a word (but i would have been impressed). I still wouldn't have understood the degrees of zero thing, though.

4 days til pitchers and catchers in any case.

"4 days til pitchers and catchers in any case."

Feels like infinity.

Here's a Phillies related question:

assuming the Phils get a TV deal that blows their current deal out of the water, what will they do with that extra money in light of the luxury threshold? They seem to be a Selig-friendly franchise, so it would easy to believe that it wouldn't lead to measurable increases in spending either internationally or over the threshold, right? And the draft slot issue, even if the Phils were a team that acted like the Red Sox, is a largely a thing of the past.

I'd imagine it would make it even easier for them to continue to operate right at the luxury tax, but they do that now already. Seems then, that the TV deal has more implications for off-field issues (pay off their debts, control ticket pricing to name two) then on.

Sophist, I think you're exactly right. I actually wouldn't even be surprised to find out that they've sliced their margins much thinner than desired the last few years, banking on the inevitable payoff with the new deal. Yes, the spending methodology has changed drastically, but by and large, outside of a few names, the ownership group isn't that radically different than the one that valued profit over performance for years. I think they're earning some good faith with the fan base and capitalizing on the ballpark and homegrown team in its prime (while spending incrementally to upgrade overall), knowing that they'll need to rebuild in the years with the additional revenue. I suspect that they won't invest nearly to the magnitude that we think they should with the incremental revenue, though they'll bump up against the luxury tax fairly regularly (and STILL take home more $). Not a bad spot to be in if you have an ownership stake in this team.

If you make the argument that they need to start using the extra TV revenue, luxury tax be damned, essentially you're advocating the Yankees model. I don't know how sustainable that is, and it's certainly not conducive to homegrown talent (outside of grooming for trades, etc.). Also, I suspect that's a hell of a lot more difficult to operate with an ownership group (i.e. multiple financially invested parties) than it is with a family ownership (with no one else really to answer to).

Comcast better not drag it's d$ck in the dirt with this deal.

Sophist and WP, they'll probably bump up against the lux-tax fairly often.

As you've pointed out, they're there now, so if they have a large revenue injection (which IMHO is likely), there's no reason to not continue the trend.

Additionally, continuing to spend and put a competitive (one with the best TV ratings in MLB) product on the field will only enhance their leverage when the next TV deal gets negotiated in 2015.

The one area where they might get more aggressive is in international scouting and signings, though I don't know if that's covered by the new CBA.

Now that Papelbon has been compared to Wagner, can anyone tell me if he holds runners well?

Unikruk, when you say "well," you mean like better than Brad Lidge? If so, then I think you're in for a treat.

Awh: “Run differential? Please look at Howard’s, Utley’s , Rollins and output for the past couple of years or more. What you state is true but for us what is more important is the fact that our guys are past their prime. Thome will not solve our problems.
Or as BB says “I have been pushing for rebuilding” true enough . I thought that after 2010 we should trade as many of our vets for young blood and precisely for the reason you bring up “pitching” I wrote with our pitching we can do less hitting let’s trade the lot for a new bunch.
BAP: While the post season has become a crapshoot please recall how CM refused to make any adjustments. That makes it easy for an opposing manager to game him. And that is exactly what TLR did.

This is for the whiners here, especially those who whine about excessive overpays in contracts.

It's part of a post by RememberthePhitans over at TGF:

"This offseason, I felt a really unpleasant mix of emotions as the Madson/Papelbon storyline played out. The first was some uneasiness about what the Phillies have become. I am in awe of the financial juggernaut that they have created. It's not like they are the Yankees or Boston, and the owners do not have the absolute wealth of the owners of those teams, but that's a fine distinction if you are a fan of the Royals or Pirates, for instance. I remember the days when the idea of the Phillies spending money on real, actual talent was out of the question. The issue here isn't whether Papelbon is talented, but whether the Phillies paid a little too much for maybe a year or two more than they should have. And this is what I am reduced to whining about. How spoiled have I become? I've become one of the Four Yorkshiremen, talking about how tough it was in the olden days."

For all you b8tch8s that have nothing better to do than whine about overpaying for players, go suck an egg. You obviously didn't live through watching the crap (or have really short memories) this organization put on the field when they had a losing record for 13 out of 14 years.

Give me today's FO. Good times, baby, good times!

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EST. 2005

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